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New parks director could be hired Monday

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Mayor Kristen Brown will recommend a new parks director at a special Columbus Parks and Recreation Board meeting Monday.

About 10 candidates were interviewed, Brown said, adding she would not announce the name of the nominee until the meeting.

Indiana law says the mayor appoints a park director, and then the appointment is approved by the Columbus Parks and Recreation Board.

The parks board will meet at 4 p.m. Monday in City Hall.

The new director’s salary will be about the same as that of previous parks director Ben Wagner, which was $79,471, the mayor said.

Brown demoted Wagner from the director position to marketing coordinator in December, and the position has been vacant since then.

City Attorney Jeff Logston declined to discuss the interview process or timeline in which it took place.

The parks board was part of the interview process, board member Angie Macy said Friday.

The candidate being introduced Monday already has a priority list of projects he would like to do if he is hired by the board, Macy said.

The city has been interviewing candidates since the city council June 3 reinstated a salary range of $58,000 to $84,000 for the director’s position in the city budget.

The council removed the parks director salary from the city’s salary ordinance Jan. 21, moving it to the marketing coordinator’s position which Wagner held until he resigned effective May 30.

Council members said at the time that they wanted to prevent the mayor from hiring a director until the parks board had an opportunity to receive a legal opinion about whether the mayor could demote or fire a parks director.

Three of the four parks board members — Brian Russell, Mary Tucker and Nancy Ann Brown — resigned

May 30 after they could not come to an agreement with Mayor Brown over whether the mayor could demote or fire the director and whether the board was in charge of the parks department.

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